Seeking Circularity: Circular Urban Metabolism in the Context of Industrial Symbiosis
2. Materials and Methods
3.1. Understanding Circular Economy Concept
3.2. Circular Economy Implementation in Cities
3.3. Concept of Industrial Symbiosis
3.4. Concept of Circular Urban Metabolism
4. Measuring Circular Economy Implementation
4.1. European Union Circular Economy Indicators Framework
- It might be difficult for countries, regions or cities to understand or use indicators in practice.
- Green public procurement indicator is still under development and specific data are not provided.
- EU’s CE indicators framework shows one-dimensional view of CE and indicates the progress of waste policy, while water use, energy, emission indicators are out of scope.
- From the framework of indicators chosen by the EU to measure circularity transition, only one of them related to social dimension of sustainable development (number of persons employed).
- Not all developed indicators can be relevant at the city level or there might be no data at city level (e.g., EU self-sufficiency on raw materials, trade in recyclable raw materials) or high cost to undertake collection.
- Another issue that can be targeted here that Circular material use rate is too general to measure EU’s economy transition from linear to circular and does not include specific targets for the re-use of secondary raw materials and upcycling.
- The CE monitoring framework also lack indicators on emissions, circular business models, life cycle indicators, and IS.
4.2. Measuring Circular Economy Implementation in Cities
4.3. Industrial Symbiosis Indicators
5. Industrial Symbiosis Integration into the Circular Urban Metabolism
6. Empirical Support for Our Framework
- Policy programs from the EU and the national government are major conditioning factors. European Circular Economy Action Plan was adopted in 2015 and 2020 as a part of the new industrial strategy [11,31,67] to influence IS development. EU has an ambitious aim to become world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050 and cities will take the major role in this process because of the high concentration of resources, knowledge, and innovations in cities and their financial capabilities to implement drastic environmental changes in the urban planning process.
- Strategic partnership examples between industrial sectors and cities along with social and knowledge exchanges supporting CE implementation can be found in recent published studies. [15,71,78,84]. Numerous cases of IS can be found in Europe across different countries with planned and facilitated IS initiatives in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Netherlands, traditional manufacturing clusters with IS activities in Spain . Haq et al.  discuss the synergy relationship between the regional municipality and the industrial and agricultural companies in the IS network in the Sodankylä region (Finland).
- IS, UM, and CE are often addressed in isolation in the context of sustainable urban planning, but the specific conclusions from various studies allow to combine those elements in CUM framework.
- CE, IS indicators analysis confirms that some cities (Rotterdam, Glasgow, Maribor) are taking first steps integrating IS indicators into CE framework. However, it is necessary to have integrated approach to consider the relationship between different metrics to avoid unintended side effects.
7. Discussion and Conclusions
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|Cities||CE Document||Established Indicators (Yes/No)|
|Amsterdam, The Netherlands ||Amsterdam Circular 2020–2025 Strategy||Yes|
|Rotterdam, The Netherlands ||Rotterdam for circular economy 2019–2023||Yes|
|London, The United Kingdom ||London’s circular economy route map|
London—the circular economy capital
|Glasgow, The United Kingdom ||Circular economy route map for Glasgow 2020–2030||Yes|
|Peterborough, The United Kingdom ||Circular City Roadmap||Yes|
|Paris/France ||Paris Circular Economy Plan||Yes|
|Helsinki/Finland ||The City of Helsinki’s Roadmap for Circular and Sharing Economy||Yes|
|Prague/Check Republic ||Strategy for the Transition of the Capital City of Prague to Circular Economy (project)||Yes|
|Maribor/Slovenia ||Strategy for the transition to circular economy in the municipality of Maribor||Yes|
|Brussel, Belgium ||Brussels Regional Program for a Circular Economy 2016–2020||Yes|
|Copenhagen, Denmark ||Circular Copenhagen. Resource and Waste Management Plan 2024||No|
|Vienna, Austria ||Smart city Wien Framework Strategy 2019–2050. Vienna’s strategy for Sustainable Development||No|
|Belgium||CE is an economic system for exchange and production that aims to increase resource efficiency use and reduce environmental impact at all stages of the product life cycle, while developing the well-being of individuals.|||
|Denmark||CE is a production and consumption approach where materials and products are recirculated, their value is fully utilized, and waste is minimized to improve the environment to the benefit of future generations.|||
|Estonia||CE is businesses’ ability to engage in research and development, to create innovations products and services addressing local socio-economic problems, creating innovative business models, with higher skilled jobs and increased productivity along with engagement of different stakeholders (businesses, policy makers, society as a whole).|||
|Finland||CE is a new operating method for the economy that produces economic well-being within the limits of the planet’s carrying capacity. In a CE, materials are utilized efficiently and sustainably, and they remain in circulation for a long time and safely.|||
|France||The CE is about producing goods and services in a sustainable way by limiting the consumption and waste of resources and the production of waste. It is about moving from a completely disposable society to a more circular economic model.|||
|Greece||CE is based on the rational use of resources, the concept of recycling-reuse and the IS model. It aims at and encourages the use of secondary materials and waste as productive resources and useful materials, attributing a sustainable dimension to the productive model.|||
|Ireland||The CE concept encompasses a system that seeks to maintain and grow economic activity though at the same time reducing the extraction and consumption of virgin raw materials. It is based firmly on the waste hierarchy and the proposition that preventing waste in the first place is the most effective way to reduce consumption. Increased sharing of products both at personal level and through commercial product-as-a-service models allows greater usage of products without needing additional manufacturing.|||
|Italy||CE is more rational and effective material and energy resources’ management which requires a cultural and structural change with involvement of all stakeholders (business, public sector, consumer, citizens, and associations).|||
|Latvia||CE is a sustainable development model which is essential for maintaining the value of products, materials and resources in the economy after longer, while reducing both consumption of raw materials and waste, as well as the impact on the environment|||
|Luxembourg||The restorative use of materials and products in renewably powered cycles where everything is a resource for something else, generating positive economic, social and ecological impacts through improved quality and resource productivity|||
|The Netherlands||CE is transition from “take, make and waste” to a system with preservation of natural capital by using renewable and generally available raw materials. Raw materials are optimally deployed and (re-)used without any risk for health and environment, and primary raw materials are extracted in a sustainable manner.|||
|Portugal||CE is understood as an economy which actively promoted the efficient use and productivity of the resources it has harnessed, via products, processes and business models on the digitalization, reuse, recycling and recovery/regeneration of materials. It seeks to extract economic value and use from the materials, equipment and goods for as long as possible in cycles powered by renewable sources.|||
|Slovakia||CE helps to maintain the value of products and materials as long as possible, thus waste and new resource utilization are minimized.|||
|Slovenia||CE is a new paradigm that seeks to answer the changes that characterize the 21st century—changes that prove, in a material sense, that the exploitation of natural resources in the ways that were seemingly still acceptable in the 20th century can’t allow for the quality survival of humanity or the other living creatures on this planet.|||
|Spain||CE is a new production and consumption model in which the value of products, materials and resources are maintained within the economy for as long as possible, with minimal waste and reusing as much as possible the waste that cannot be avoided.|||
|Sweden||CE is a tool to reduce resource use in society and the environmental impacts that follow from it.|||
|The United Kingdom||CE allows keeping resources in use as long as possible, extracting maximum value from them, minimizing waste and promoting resource efficiency|||
|Production and consumption||EU self-sufficiency for raw materials||%|
|Green public procurement||Number, % GDP|
|Waste generation||Generation of municipal waste||kg per capita|
|Generation of waste excluding major mineral wastes, per GDP unit||kg per thousand euros, chain linked volumes (2010)|
|Generation of waste excluding major mineral wastes, per domestic material consumption||%|
|Waste management||Recycling rates||Recycling rate of municipal waste||%|
|Recycling rate of all waste excluding major mineral waste||%|
|Recycling/recovery for specific waste streams||Recycling rate for overall packaging||%|
|Recycling rate of plastic packaging||%|
|Recycling rate of wooden packaging||%|
|Recycling rate of e-waste||%|
|Recycling of bio-waste||kg per capita|
|Recovery rate of construction and demolition waste||%|
|Secondary raw materials||Contribution of recycled materials to raw materials demand||End-of-life recycling input rates for raw materials||%|
|Circular material use rate||%|
|Trade in recyclable raw materials||Imports from non-EU countries||tonne/thousand euros|
|Exports to non-EU countries|
|Intra EU trade|
|Competitiveness and innovation||Private investment, jobs and gross value added related to circular economy sectors||Gross investment in tangible goods||million euros, %GDP|
|Number of persons employed||Number, % employment|
|Value added at factor cost||million euros, % GDP|
|Number of patents related to recycling and secondary raw materials||Number, % world|
|City/Country||CE Documents||CE Scope on City Level||CE Indicators||Source|
|Amsterdam/The Netherlands||Amsterdam Circular 2020–2025 Strategy||Food and organic waste streams|
|Environment:||City of Amsterdam |
Amsterdam Circle Economy 
|Rotterdam/The Netherlands||Rotterdam for circular economy 2019–2023||Construction|
Agro-food and green flows
|Environment:||Rotterdam Circular |
Rotterdam Circle Economy 
|Peterborough/The United Kingdom||Circular City Roadmap||Food, Drink and Agri|
|Economy:||Circular Peterborough [21,123]|
|London/The United Kingdom||London’s circular economy route map|
London—the circular economy capital
|Consumption:||Circular London [19,124]|
European Commission 
|Glasgow, The United Kingdom||Circular economy route map for Glasgow 2020–2030||Sharing economy|
Consumption and reuse
The “second hand” market
End planet obsolescence
|Material flows||Glasgow city council |
Zero Waste Scotland 
|Paris/France||Paris Circular Economy Plan||Waste|
Mobility and transport
Secondary raw materials
|Domestic material consumption per capita|
Number of industrial and territorial ecology projects
Car-sharing frequency rates
Quantities of waste sent to landfill
Use of recycled raw materials in production processes
Household spending on product repair and maintenance
Employment in the circular economy
|Mairie de Paris |
|Helsinki/Finland||The City of Helsinki’s Roadmap for Circular and Sharing Economy||Construction|
Trade and services:
Statistic Finland 
|Prague/Check Republic||Strategy for the Transition of the Capital City of Prague to Circular Economy (project)||Construction|
|Economy:||Circle Economy |
|Maribor/Slovenia||Strategy for the transition to circular economy in the municipality of Maribor||Construction and demolition waste|
Surplus heat and renewable energy
Sustainable mobility and urban transport
Cooperative economy network
|Production and consumption:||Wcycle Institute Maribor |
Statistični Urad 
|Brussels, Belgium||Brussels Regional Program for a Circular Economy 2016–2020||Construction|
Resources and waste
|Social:||Be circular |
|IS Methodologies and Indicators||Source|
|Park and Behera |
Material flow analysis (MFA):
|Fraccascia and Giannoccaro |
|General IS indicators:||Lütje and Wohlgemuth |
|Environmental Impact Momentum (EIM):||Felicio et al. |
Betweenness and closeness
|Inputs||Materials and energy:|
|Construction and building environment:|
|Mobility and transport:|
|Products and services:|
|Emissions and waste:|
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Feiferytė-Skirienė, A.; Stasiškienė, Ž. Seeking Circularity: Circular Urban Metabolism in the Context of Industrial Symbiosis. Sustainability 2021, 13, 9094. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13169094
Feiferytė-Skirienė A, Stasiškienė Ž. Seeking Circularity: Circular Urban Metabolism in the Context of Industrial Symbiosis. Sustainability. 2021; 13(16):9094. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13169094Chicago/Turabian Style
Feiferytė-Skirienė, Akvilė, and Žaneta Stasiškienė. 2021. "Seeking Circularity: Circular Urban Metabolism in the Context of Industrial Symbiosis" Sustainability 13, no. 16: 9094. https://doi.org/10.3390/su13169094